Sunday, September 22, 2013

Injun summer

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, one of the two times of the year when the the length of the day is the same as the length of the night. In the spring, the day is called the vernal equinox.

In the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox signals the start of a magical season called Indian summer. Leaves on trees start changing color, evening temperatures become a bit crisper, and Mother Nature gives us a handful of glorious warm and sunny days before the first snowflakes flutter to the ground. Due to the tilting of the earth’s axis, the full moon at this time of the year appears larger than normal, resulting in what many folks call the Harvest Moon:

Over 100 years ago, a man named John T. McCutcheon published a story in the Chicago Tribune that he titled “Injun Summer”. Some of the terms used in the story might be considered politically incorrect today, but reading the story always brings a smile to my face because it reminds of simpler times a long , long time ago. The full text of the story can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Injun summer

To celebrate the autumnal equinox, I plan to have a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer for lunch, after which I’m planning to do a little spelunking in some ancient caves a short drive north of town.

To keep the day fresh in your memory, I’d recommend that you listen to a song called “Shine on Harvest Moon”, that was originally released in 1909, two years after “Injun Summer” was first published. Scores of artists have done covers since that time, but Rosemary Clooney performed what I would consider to be the best version:

"Shine on Harvest Moon”

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